It’s hard to believe that anti-Semitic resentment against Jews could exist in Hamilton County today – the top-ranked county in Indiana for household income, educational attainment and population growth. Yet, the vandalism of Congregation Shaarey Tefilla in Carmel with Nazi symbols is proof that such hatred exists – and the time has come to recognize this type of crime for what it is.
It was a hate crime, which the Federal Bureau of Investigations defines as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. We have witnessed other disgusting acts of anti-Semitism, racism and bigotry elsewhere in Hamilton County. Earlier in 2018, a video shared on social media showed a Noblesville teenager wearing a Nazi flag draped over his shoulders as he shouted racial and ethnic slurs in Forest Park.
While technically not a crime, that incident led to the creation of the Noblesville Diversity Committee, whose mission is to create a culture that understands, accepts, celebrates and respects our diversity. From hosting racial dialogues to creating cultural connections, we promote efforts that celebrate the differences that make Noblesville the vibrant community that it is.
There is no disputing that what happened at Congregation Shaarey Tefilla qualifies as a hate crime. We join with our neighbors in Hamilton County, fellow Hoosiers across the state and Gov. Eric Holcomb, who are calling upon the Indiana General Assembly to support the passage of effective hate crime legislation in 2019.
We ask you to make your voice heard if you feel the same.
Passing such a bill into law will send a clear message that Hoosiers will not stand by and tolerate cowardly acts of violence and intimidation. Instead, through appropriate application of the law, our actions in response to a hate crime can speak for us, silencing the intimidators who try to divide us while inspiring others to celebrate the differences that make ours a stronger community.
Noblesville Diversity Committee
Connie Blanford, Noblesville citizen
Steve Cooke, Deputy Mayor, City of Noblesville
Christi Crosser, board chair, Noblesville Chamber
Laura Denis, director of student Services, Noblesville Schools
Rev. Teri L. Ditslear, ECLA, Roots of Life Community
Bob DuBois, president, Noblesville Chamber
Bryan Glover, co-owner, Mr. G’s Liquors
Jennifer Harris, Noblesville citizen
Rev. Aaron Hobbs, pastor, Noblesville First United Methodist Church
Brandi C. Holmes, Noblesville citizen
Cal Kadourah, Noblesville citizen
Kevin Kalstad, president, Noblesville School Board
Michele Leach, Noblesville citizen
Dr. Beth Niedermeyer, superintendent, Noblesville Schools
Janina Pettiford, Manager, Love’s Hangover Creations
Rev. Patrick Propst, senior pastor, Faith Community Church
Dana Randall, Noblesville citizen
Lisa Sobek, Noblesville citizen
Rev. Mallory H. Tarrance, pastor, Bethel A.M.E. Church
Becky Terry, executive director, Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville
Dwayne Thompson, Noblesville Citizen
Jennifer Townsend, director of learning, Noblesville Schools
Emily Awour Wasonga, owner, Love’s Hangover Creations